Private Guided - Best Tours & Trips 2019
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Stride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more
Impacted by Climate Change
- Visit the renowned market of the Otavalo Indian, industrious makers of the handicrafts
- Explore Cuenca
- Experience hiking in the El Cajas National Park, located on the high Andean paramo
- Explore impressive James Island
- Drive through Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit
- Discover Quito
- Experience Egypt in depth
- Visit the Pyramids & Sphinx
- Explore Sakkara Pyramids & the Tombs
- Visit Dendarah temple of Hathor
- Visit Luxor Museum
- Stay in Japan's finest hotels and ryokans
- Enjoy the metropolis of Tokyothe
- Discover the cultural mecca of Kyoto, the quaint village of Takayama and the hot springs of Hakone
- Experience Private Tour of Ollantaytambo and Pisac
- Enjoy Private Walking Tour of Cusco’s Historic City Center
- Visit Lake Titicaca’s islands via private boat
- Experience Train travel through the Cloud Forest
- Visiting Incan Ruins and Indigenous Markets
- Explore the Ancient City Machu Picchu
- Enjoy sightseeing, having a cruise on our River Douro
- Ride cycle along the incredible view of the Douro River
- Explore Sírigo
- Enjoy vehicle expedition to visit the pre-historic cave paintings and the Côa Museum
Must-see sights in China - Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Army
- Walk into a local Chinese family, interact & dine with the hosts in their home
- Try biking on the Ming Dynasty City Wall of Xi'an, or tour by electric car
- Cruise on the Huangpu River to take in the impressive skylines of Shanghai
- Discover Botswana
- You'll visit Makgadikgadi Pans National park
- Explore Maun
- See the Moremi Game reserve on south eastern side of the Delta
- Reach a summit under the African sky
- Enjoy a once in a lifetime experience
- An adventure with African experts - we will take you to the summit of Africa
- Mt William National Park
- 10 Guests Maximum
- Spectacular ocean views
- Expert naturalist guides
- Bird-rich waters of Ansons Bay
- Swim, snorkel or kayak
- Full service spa & treatments
- Fine Tasmanian wines
- Stunning architecture
- Over 20km of pristine coastline
- Witness the best of Peru in Luxury
- Exploring the wonders of Lima, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and the Amazon
- Unique access to areas not seen by typical tourists
- Led by your own expert private guide
- Ride the famous Alaska Railroad, from the history-rich gold-rush city of Fairbanks into the rugged mountains of Denali’s Alaska Range, on this tailor-made 6-day adventure.
- View the grand slam of Alaskan wildlife—grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and dall sheep—within a 6-million-acre wilderness
- Enjoy charmingly rustic lodging inside Denali National Park, where fewer than 5% of all visitors stay
- See Phabonkha temple and Drepung Monastery
- Visit Swayambunath, Pashupatinath and Boudhanath
- Explore Shigatse Monastery
- Hike the Kamsum Yuelly temple
- Enjoy Sensual Tango in Buenos Aires
- Visit Ushuaia
- Tour & Cruise Perito Moreno Glacier
- Cruise the Beagle Channel in Ushuaia
- Voted as one of the best riding destinations in the world
- Tours designed to your requirements
- All inclusive trips
- Luxury accommodation
- English speaking guides
- Overnight boat ride to Rinca Island to find Komodo Dragons
- Visit traditional villages in Toraja
- Visit Waingapu market
- Participate in purification ceremony at Tirta Empul
- Visiting Ikat weaving centers
- Exploring Uluwatu
- Experience sunrise on Kelimutui
- Visit the temple of Tian Hou Gong
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Top Private Guided Experiences
Joining family members in Africa for wildlife viewing on safari .
Experiencing the Dalmatian or Turkish coasts on a small luxury yacht.
Gaining deeper insights into the indigenous cultures of Botswana and Namibia via one-on-one contact.
Taking private cooking lessons in Tuscany with a small group of friends.
Exploring ancient Egyptian archaeological sites at your own desired pace.
Learning how to throw a boomerang in Australia’s outback under the tutelage of a native.
Trekking through the Himalayas of Nepal with an experienced Sherpa guide.
Private Guided Trip Reviews
1,714 Private Guided Tour Reviews - Summary 98% Recommend
Private Guided Tours and Travel Guide
Private Guided Attractions & Landmarks Guide
If you aren't interested in a group guided tour, you can still travel with a guide on your own. A number of tour operators will fix you up with a private guide or guides for the duration of your trip. Your tour could either be customized to your liking, or you could choose one of the standard itineraries offered by the operator, so that you don't have to think about where to stay, how long to be gone, when to fly, or any other travel logistics. Private guided tours are, of course, typically more expensive than group tours, but you never have to worry about getting lost in the crowd.
A private guided tour can prove to be one of your most memorable and satisfying travel experiences. You – or your smallish group of family and friends – have the use of your own guide(s) to introduce you to and immerse you in far-off locales and cultures that you might not feel comfortable navigating on your own.
A good private tour company and guide should confer with you and your companions as to your preferences on what to see and do, what your energy level is, and how much free rein you’d like during the trip. On a private guided tour, you aren’t just one member of a group, but the star of the show.
Most tour agencies that offer private guided tours are eager to work with you in pre-planning trips according to your individual preferences. For instance, if you and your family have always wanted to see the Great Migration of wildebeest in Tanzania’s Serengeti, they’ll work to make it happen. If you’re traveling with young children, they’ll take that into account.
But it’s fine, too, to say, “I’ve heard about river boats in France but how can I cruise through Bordeaux with just my family?” The tour company might well suggest a luxury barge trip on a vessel complete with your own private chef, then make all the arrangements so that all you have to do is show up.
Whatever kind of private guided tour you choose – an African safari, tours of Italy that visit local homes in Tuscany, a trek through the Himalayas, or perhaps that barge trip through Bordeaux -- your guide will be, for the most part, at your beck and call. But you may well choose to let your guide lead the way, to take best advantage of his or her expertise. Either way, the service should be tailored to your wants and needs.
Regular guided group tours – where most participants typically don’t know each other before the trip – can be a wonderful way to make new friends, and are often very budget-friendly. A possible downside, though, is that you generally won’t have any control over who you’re traveling with, exactly where you’re going and when, at what pace you’re traveling, or, in many cases, the size of the group.
With private guided tours, on the other hand, you get all the benefits of regular guided group tours – not having to wrestle with logistics or hassle with transportation, gaining the insights and access that good local guides can provide, knowing what the total trip will cost in advance, and more -– with none of the potential drawbacks. It all adds up to more flexibility for you and, if you’re not going solo, your own small group of friends or family.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
In some parts of the world, guides are expected to eat separately from the tour group, so if you’d like to invite your private guide to dine with you, ask politely -- but don’t be offended if he or she has to decline.
Even with family members and groups of friends, disagreements can erupt while traveling. Try to work out any potential problem areas before you start your trip, because to take best advantage of a private guided tour, you won’t want to give your guide constantly conflicting signals.
Private guided tours can be ideal for family travel, since children can be themselves and guides can tailor activities to them and give them more individual attention than in a larger group tour.
Private guided tours are also good for specialty travel, such as birding trips, photo tours, or wine tasting expeditions in which you have intense interest in one activity and want to spend the bulk of your time on it.
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